Saturday, March 3, 2012

The World's Worst Boyfriend

My kitchen floor is very small, a weird little island of old linoleum upon which rests a refrigerator, an electric range, and a sink with a countertop the size of a cutting board. At this very moment, it also holds a teen-age cat and every bit of paper that had recently been in a brown paper bag, waiting to go to the recycling bin. The cat is doing his best to resemble a shredding machine. The noise of rustling and scratching is only marginally better than the dull thud of his attempts to open the cupboard behind which the paper had been hidden ten minutes ago.

Mulrooney is a barn cat without a barn to call his own. I'm the resident of a studio apartment. We found each other when he was still cute and needed a home if he was going to live past the weekend. He entered my life with an assessing gaze that was disconcerting when coming from such a small and appealing animal. I responded with as much over-indulgence as I could afford, certain that he would come to understand that it was worth his while to live life on my terms. Instead he's done his level best over the past six months to train me to live as he likes.

Since this involves living a life that becomes aerobically active after the lights are out, with wild leaps upon my body just as I'm most relaxed, Mulrooney spends his nights in a large dog crate. He seems to like it. In the morning, he makes me pay, searching frantically for things to do that he never does when I'm not here. If his activities were anything other than revenge, my wall hangings would all be on the floor, every book would be out of my bookcase, there would be nothing in my medicine cabinet, the linoleum would be carpeted in newspaper confetti and my carpet would be mostly threadbare. But Mulrooney is a guy who likes an audience.

He is, as every cat I have owned in the past twenty years has turned out to be, the world's worst boyfriend.

Somewhere around the time that I stopped caring if my phone rang, I began to construct a cat-dominated household, and the cats have been less than domestic. As far as they're concerned, I exist to feed them, pay them attention when they want it, and applaud their exploits. When in a bad mood, they do their best to make it my problem--sound familiar?

Over the years, I've learned that men and I get along well when we are separate but equal. The cats I have known have learned that we get along well when they do as they like. For those who might say that I've made little progress, I can only respond that Mulrooney, despite his flaws, never discusses football, finances, or politics. A little shredded paper is a small price to pay...and at least I'm a serial monogamist.


Nana Chen said...

That's brilliant, Janet. All cat lovers will thank you for this!


janet brown said...

You're so sweet, Nana! Thank you.

Sally said...

As I'm sure you've been studying Jackson Galaxy's wise advice it seems that playtime with Mulrooney will shed a lot of that energy. They seem to like a toy called Da Bird the best. I hope you get to catch his show - they had a marathon last weekend, which I had going in the background of daily living, but he has great tips. Let alone he's sort of a trippy guy!
I had cats and live-in bf's at the same time, and fortunately they were either cat guys or completely oblivious to them, and didn't complain. At one time, I had 9 cats (when I lived in Laurel Canyon) and then reduced down to 5. Right now, I'm down to one 16 y.o. who also dominates the household, but learning why they do the things they do helps to adjust things - sort of!